The ACLU and Kirkland Ellis filed a class action lawsuit on January 31, 2018, on behalf of transgender women currently in custody in the Illinois Department of Corrections. In March of 2018, Thomas Kennedy and Sarah Jane Hunt of Kennedy Hunt, P.C., joined the case as local counsel. The complaint can be read here.
The lawsuit alleges that the Illinois Department of Corrections has failed to provide adequate care and treatment to transgender prisoners who suffer from gender dysphoria, the condition of feeling one’s emotional and psychological identity as male or female to be opposite to one’s biological sex. Necessary and appropriate treatments can range from assisting with social transitions, to hormone therapy, to gender affirming surgery. The Illinois Department of Corrections has prevented treatment in numerous ways: by outright denial, providing the wrong treatment or medication, or causing lengthy and dangerous delays to receive treatment.
The lawsuit alleges the failure to provide adequate care and treatment amounts to a violation of the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which protects prisoners from cruel and unusual punishment. The lawsuit seeks medical reform in the Illinois Department of Corrections consistent with well-established medical standards, so transgender prisoners suffering from gender dysphoria can receive the treatment they need on a timely basis.